I live down the street from an elementary school. Along with all of the 20 mph and crosswalk signs, there are signs that designates the area as a Safe Zone.
It made me sad to think about the kids who have to take solace in that sign, rather in the idea that they can be safe in school when they may not feel so during the other hours of their lives. Everyone should feel safe.
However, that is a utopian idea – if wishes were fishes & all that… The real world can be harsh, and there are people with bad intentions out there. Our bodies get hurt, as do our feelings. And the threat can come from inside – we are tough on our selves, we criticize our selves, we beat ourselves up. I know I am my own worst critic.
It’s difficult for a person to flourish when they don’t feel safe in their physical body; when there is an external threat energy is expended towards expelling it, there for taking away the energy to heal and grow. It makes sense, to me, that the same idea applies to feeling safe in one’s own mind. If I’m not safe within my self, I can’t grow as a person.
In the same way those school zones assure kids they will be protected & accepted, we should all be so kind to ourselves and create an environment of acceptance, nurturing, and safety within our own minds.
Accepted & protected — a prime condition for cultivation.
It would seem that such a practice would be s given — to practice self-acceptance — but I’ve noticed that we can, at times, treat ourselves rather harshly. What good does that do? We should each be our own biggest fan & root for the home team; not in the fake-celebrity “Look how great I am” sort of way, but in an authentic way that allows our Best Self to shine through.
We can’t be afraid of being real with ourselves — we can accept ourselves for what we are (because nobody else will until we do it first); we can throw out what we don’t like, like knee-jerk conditioning and zealotry-inducing ignorance; we can pursue goodness and goals, even in the face of past failure; and we should protect ourselves from the self-sabotaging negativity we’ve learned to employ as a defense mechanism in case we get hurt.
We should be our own safe zones. If I constantly tear myself down, I can’t build up. If I constantly think about my pay, I can’t move forward. If I fall prey to the mentality that it’s best to ignore the unpleasant, I do myself a disservice. But if I accept myself and understand my goods and bads (and then how I can use them to my advantage, whether by magnification or amendment), I can be satisfied in my inner self, which then allows me to live happily and without fear.
When I am honest with myself, in a kind way, i can improve. When I am unafraid of facing my shortcomings, I become stronger. When I am truly on my own side, I don’t nave to be touchy or defensive; I don’t have to “fight” against anything, freeing up my energy to move in a positive direction. When I enjoy the good things in life, enthusiastically and gratefully, they amplify. It’s amazing to see it happen.
And, I’ve noticed, when I’m accepting of myself, other people can feel it too. The lack of trepidation & air of happiness is a magnet, whether it’s with servers or friends or cashiers or family — when I have an inner safe zone, I can be a safe zone to others.
Imagine what could happen if large numbers of people created inner safe zones and expanded to their circles… maybe then acceptance & protection wouldn’t be limited to metal signs in front of a school.